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Kane County family law attorneysOne of the least discussed topics before couples marry is usually finances. One of the most discussed topics when a couple decides to end their marriage, however, is usually finances. It is critical to discuss finances before marriage, and a prenuptial agreement opens the door for this very important discussion.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that serves as private agreement between two people who intend to marry. In a prenuptial agreement, the parties define how the couple’s assets and property will be divided in the event of divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement may be narrow or broad in its scope, depending on the individual needs of the couple. The issue of spousal support may be included in the agreement, but there are no specific requirements. Without a prenuptial agreement, the couple will be required to reach an agreement later on, or their assets will be divided by the Illinois state laws governing divorce if the couple elects to terminate their marriage.

Understanding Emotions Around Prenuptial Agreements

In popular culture, prenuptial agreements are often seen in a negative light. They are generally viewed as an uncomfortable topic of conversation that indicates one person is either planning for the marriage to fail or trying to gain an advantage over their partner. Unfortunately, these common misconceptions can lead couples down a stressful and detrimental path if they elect to marry without a prenuptial financial plan. 

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Kane County family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” have an undeserved reputation as only being necessary for celebrities or the ultra-rich. However, more and more people are realizing how beneficial a prenuptial agreement can actually be. Prenuptial agreements allow couples to decide in advance how their property should be divided if the marriage ends in divorce, clarify their financial responsibilities and rights during marriage, make sure property is passed down to selected heirs when a spouse passes away, and more.

Survey Shows That More Millennials Are Using Prenups

A study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that more than half of attorneys surveyed have seen an increase in the number of young couples signing premarital agreements. Many attribute the increase in prenuptial agreements to the fact that, on average, Americans are getting married later in life than they have previously. The average U.S. male gets married at age 29.9 and the average female gets married at age 28.1. Tying the knot at almost 30 years old gives couples more time to accumulate property and debts that require protection through a prenuptial agreement. Many millennials also have a 401(k), stock options, a start-up business, intellectual property or other complex assets which can be protected by a prenuptial agreement.

The Negative Stigma Surrounding Prenups is Decreasing

Another major reason millennials are signing prenuptial agreements at a higher rate than previous generations is because they have realistic ideas about divorce. While it can be a bleak reality to consider, the fact is that between 30 to 40 percent of U.S. marriages do not last. Because many of them are children of divorce themselves, more and more millennials are taking a pragmatic approach to the way they think about marriage and divorce. Just as they purchase car insurance in the event of a car crash, they sign a prenuptial agreement in the event their marriage does not last. People are starting to realize that signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you think your marriage will fail. It simply means that you take financial decisions seriously and want to be as responsible as possible when it comes to property and debt.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree